Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Source: Review Copy from Author
Note: Lizzy Bennet Meets the Countess is the fourth installment in The Bennet Wardrobe series, and it is recommended that readers read The Keeper: Mary Bennet’s Extraordinary Adventure, Henry Fitzwilliam’s War, and The Exile: Kitty Bennet and the Belle Époque prior to reading the Lizzy Bennet Meets the Countess.
For those who are unfamiliar with The Bennet Wardrobe series, it is an inventive and engaging series filled with time-traveling Bennets, who are able to travel forward in time – thanks to the magical properties of a specially-crafted wardrobe that has been in the family since the late 1700s. In the first few books of the series there is a focus on Mary, Kitty, and Lydia Bennet and what happens to them post Pride and Prejudice. However, this two-part novella focuses more on Elizabeth and features two significant times in her life.
The first part of this novella, “Through the Looking Glass” illustrates what happens when Lizzy makes accidental use of The Bennet Wardrobe during a game of hide-and-seek (can you blame her, it is a perfect hiding spot!) The Wardrobe brings ten-year-old Lizzy to the year 1907 (talk about a startling change!), and Lizzy makes the acquaintance of Jacques and Maggie Robard from The Exile, and encounters several relations that would be hers and her family’s descendants – including someone very near and dear to her. I loved seeing Lizzy’s adventures in the future, I’m so glad she got to use the the Wardrobe (Finally! I’ve been waiting!) And I thought Don Jacobson wonderfully captured what Lizzy would be like at such a young age and what her thoughts would be of all the modern inventions and changes she witnesses. Young Lizzy was delightfully precocious, inquisitive, and unsurprisingly wise beyond her years.
The second part of this novella, “Finding Prometheus” takes place in 1816 when Darcy and Elizabeth are in the midst of their travels across Europe. After a chance encounter with Lord Byron and his traveling companions, the Darcys end up accepting Byron’s invitation to spend some time with them in Lake Geneva at the Villa Diodati. What I loved most about this part of the story was Elizabeth’s blossoming friendship with Mary Godwin (Percy Shelley’s future wife), and witnessing Elizabeth’s emotions as she continues to heal from a heartbreaking event a few months back. In addition, I appreciated how this portion of the story tied into real history, as this gathering of literary greats really did take place in Lake Geneva in 1816, and Mary Godwin really did began writing what would eventually become her full-fledged novel, Frankenstein; or the Modern Prometheus during this time. What an interesting encounter for all involved!
I loved how this two part novella paid tribute to two diverse classic works of literature – Alice in Wonderland and Frankenstein! And I enjoyed how the themes of each – whether they be absurdities and exploration or questions about life and science – were creatively woven together into the fabric of this tale. In addition, I greatly appreciated how the events of this story tied into the history of the Bennet family and the other novels of this series. My only quibble would be that I still have some unanswered questions about Lizzy’s experience/understanding of the Bennet Wardrobe. (Maybe I need to reread parts of The Keeper for my answers…) Lastly, I love that Mr. Jacobson included a Preface and an excerpt from The Keeper: Mary Bennet’s Extraordinary Adventure to help set up the events of this tale. However, I do think a list of dramatis personae to easily reference would be a wonderful addition to these books as more characters are introduced in each tale.
In Lizzy Bennet Meets the Countess, Don Jacobson takes readers on another captivating adventure with the The Bennet Wardrobe that continues to augment the complex and fascinating history he is building for the Bennet family. I recommend this series to readers who love imaginative stories about time-travel and the idea of Jane Austen’s beloved characters encountering other literary characters and historical figures!
Don Jacobson has generously offered to sponsor a giveaway of Lizzy Bennet Meets the Countess in conjunction with my review!! One winner will receive Lizzy Bennet Meets the Countess in the format of their choosing – Audible audibook, ebook, or paperback (paperback option is for US residents only).
To enter this giveaway, leave a comment about my review!
- This giveaway is open worldwide (paperback for US only). Thank you, Don!
- This giveaway ends November 28th.